The 2 Methods I use to get my kids to act more respectful and responsible.

Oh the joys of having siblings. I grew up with three brothers, two of which were very close in age with me. I remember fighting with them all the time. I can only imagine how stressful it was for my parents to mediate and get us to stop fighting. Now that I am a parent, I understand that there’s more to it than just getting your kids to stop fighting and arguing: It’s how they handle problems on their own, cause and effect, it’s how future problems can get resolved, it’s how your child reacts to others emotions and cues, how they can identify the problem and learn from it.

I have tried many methods when my girls would fight with eachother. When I first started and they were younger about 3 and 5 years of age. I usually kept it simple and had them apologize to each other and let them know “sharing is the nice thing to do” and that was that. Now that they’re older it’s requiring more attention from me. The girls share a room, they have the same friends, share the same after school activities. They’re very close with one another. My girls are the best of friends but fight conistantly. This is getting to the point where I see a lot of anxiety arising, the same issues coming up, and yes, a lot of unnecessary “taddle telling.” Most of kids issues are issues that they can handle on their own with minimal interference from their parents.

Consistency

This is the first point I’d like to make because I feel it is the most important. I am not a very consistant person with much, but know it’s value. You can see results once you commit and stick with it, staying conciencous and catching yourself to stay on it is self discipline. I know when I slip with my consistency man oh man that hits hard. All of your work is just thrown out the window.

Methods

The methods I use now have helped tremendously and are so simple. The girls have gained so much respect for each other and communicate better in order to problem solve at home and in the real world.

  • 5 things they love about each other: When the girls start the name calling and disrespecting eachother over the littlest things, they come to me to taddle. Just today, My daughter came to me saying her sister said to her that she “wished she wasn’t born.” I can feel the hurt in her voice. I spoke to my daughter who said that to my oldest and explained to her why she shouldn’t say those things and the effect others get from the things she says. I sit them both down and usually start with the more calm child because it eases the child. who is more wound up. So, in this case, I started with my oldest who was hurt from her sister’s words. I have her list 5 things she loves about her sister. Typically by the first, the mood changes completely. My daughters usually mention each others laugh and they always start laughing. The end result from this technique always leaves them in a happy mood and grateful for eachother. Follwing this technique there is always an apology from what had happened, therefor it is more of a genuine apology, rather than forced.
Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com
  • Respect and Responsibility Jar: This is a new tactic that has been working. Everytime the girls do something thoughtful that falls under the category of respect or responsibilty I would put a penny in their jar. Nothing is mentioned, nothing is acknowledged- By that, I mean I can notice it, or not. Although it is considered a reward system, I want to make it known that they shouldn’t get praised for doing what they’re supposed to do. So, do what you’re supposed to do and watch your jar fill up. Examples of which I consider penny worthy: Dishes without me asking, problem solving with siblings in a mature manner, reading or homework wiithout being told, getting ready for bed on their own by following their lists (wash face, brush teeth, brush hair, lotion, etc.), asking to help with dinner or help clean. These are just a few examples, but you can imagine the new things everyday that they come up on their own that allows them to be more independent, and thoughtful. Once they reach the top. They can cash it in and spend it on whomever or whatever they want.

These methods have worked almost immediately and with consistency you can see a huge adjusment to your children’s behavior. As a parent, you’re always looking to fine-tune your child’s moral compass, and sometimes you can feel yourself in a bit of a toungue tie. Explain minimal, and allow your beautiful offsprings show you their exeplamary growth.

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Root to a Bully

Root to a Bully

“My kid isn’t mean, he/she is a sweetheart!” “Where is this coming from?” “Kids will be kids” “Your child is overreacting.” “My kid didn’t mean it.” “My kid is just cranky today.”

– Parent excuses

Planting the Seed:

Bullying can come in all shapes and forms and can also be misinterpreted by the word alone. Getting down to the nitty gritty of it, your child is mean and is harming others emotionally and/or physically- and get this, they might not know they are doing it! Who knows, your kid might be one kind kid, but struggle with social cues or their feelings. You may not even be considering that your child is a bully right now, or you might not think anything more than your child is just angry and that it is just a phase. The scale of this issue can get so deep and so complex and can lead to many opinions and arise by pointing fingers, but have you ever taken a step back and thought, hey! maybe it’s me?

Root Formation

It all starts with you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be you at fault first hand, but it is your responsibility to give the child the greatest understanding and ease that they can receive. There is a circle in your child’s life and it’s the closest circle that affects your child the most. You, their biological dad/mom, their stepmom, stepdad, uncle, aunt, your best friend since grade school they call “auntie”, cousin, grandparent. This is your child’s circle, people they’re expected to trust. 

We’re all trying to figure out where we can place the band-aid on this issue, and as we are growing as a society we are also becoming more isolated. Cyberbullying is becoming more of an issue. Neglect is becoming more of an issue- and it will only get worse in this generation to come. By providing your child with greater communication skills, and by this, I mean personable. It can help with higher self-esteem and charisma with surrounding peers. By teaching your child how to interpret and process emotion, it can provide your child with a greater understanding of empathy for others. 

Feeding your plant

Rather than being an upset parent, or a sad parent, you should take it at a different angle and be a supportive and understanding parent. This sounds a lot easier said than done, but treat this as a milestone and grow as a family by introducing problem-solving to your child. 

  • What’s wrong?” Give your child the opportunity and comfort to allow them to express themselves freely to you. This might require time and trust from them and the consistency and patience from you.
  • “What had made you feel like this?” This can take a lot of interpreting on your part. Your child could be scared to fully express themselves, so you might have to get creative. Example: My daughter has “bad dreams” This could be her interpreting her putting into words on how she’s feeling. She’s telling me what happens in the dream as a metaphor, even though she doesn’t know what a metaphor is.
  • “Do you understand this feeling or problem?” The feeling that they can be expressing they might not understand. Anxiety, anger, irritation, isolation. They might not know what they want, and by wants I mean needs. If they are demanding a form of attention, the feeling might start with anxiety that leads to irritation, then anger, then end in feeling isolated. 
  • “How do you think we should fix it?” With the example expressed above, you already know the feeling. Asking them how they should be handling the situation the best that they can provide your child with an opinion and a voice that is heard. In essence, opening up communication, importance, value, and confidence in their decision making.
  • “Do you know what I think might help?” Follow up their ideas by providing your suggestions on how to make the situation better. This can help distinguish morals and weighing out choices in which is the best to make.
  • “I’m proud of you!” Allowing your child to problem solve on their own and giving them as much credit as they deserve in this because let’s face it. This is a huge accomplishment for them. 

Your child may not know all the answers to any of these questions, because the younger they are the less they understand on expressing themselves. They will lack the vocabulary and can’t put much into words. So knowing your child is a huge tool into understanding where they are coming from, so they can understand where you’re coming from. Analogies and metaphors could be a helpful tactic- The simpler the better. 

Growth

We as parents should take higher strides for our future (our kids). Not just for our sake, but for theirs. We’re paving something out extraordinary for them. They have all of the easiest resources and technology available to them making life that much easier. We work hard so they don’t have to? Wrong! It’s nice to think because we love them so darn much. Becoming a decent human being and the best being they can be is and always will be work for any individual. To this day I, myself still strive for that- As we all do! So when trying to really understand what’s going with your child, and you’re done with all the investigative work. Try problem-solving internally, rather than externally, and start with yourself and your Child’s close circle.